'Gun Shy': Film Review

Courtesy of Saban Films
They shouldn't have pulled the trigger on this one.
9/8/2017

Antonio Banderas plays a washed-up rocker in Simon West's laugh-seeking actioner.

No actor in 2017 wants to hear that his performance made a viewer think of Johnny Depp. Much worse is the thought that the present-day Depp would have been more enjoyable in the role — which is almost certainly true of Simon West's Gun Shy, one hell of a misfire in which Antonio Banderas plays a once-famous rock star who must ransom his wife from Chilean kidnappers. A giant thud of a film that makes one doubt the fact that West ever directed a proper Hollywood movie (proof: 1997's dumb but crowdpleasing Con Air, which had producer Jerry Bruckheimer's paw-prints all over it), it will do nothing for the spirits of Banderas fans, who have watched him do so much piddling work since his mid-'90s peak that we can only wish Pedro Almodovar would take a cue from his 1989 comedy and imprison the actor in Spain for a while, keeping him away from English-language cash-grabs like this.

Banderas plays Turk Henry, who has lived as a recluse since splitting up with his former band Metal Assassin. (If you owed your career to a song called "Teenage Ass Patrol," you might hide your face as well.) His retired supermodel wife Sheila (Olga Kurylenko) convinces him to leave the house for a trip to his native Chile, but once there he stays in the confines of their luxury resort, befriending the young kid who sells him poolside beers.

Sheila is out looking at llamas when her nature tour is hijacked by hapless kidnappers. (In one of several ill-advised stabs at social relevance, the script informs us that "Luis was a busboy, Diego was a school teacher" — but lack of jobs have forced them into this.) When they realize they have a rock star's wife, they think they've hit paydirt and ask for a million dollars ransom. Turk is relieved when he hears the request. He thought they'd want real money.

Turk's blend of incompetence and laziness is such that he expects his management team in England to take care of all this for him. That manager is played by the one thesp with verified comic talent in the picture (David Mitchell, of Peep Show and Mitchell and Webb), so, naturally, West and his screenwriters all but write him out of the movie, instead sending the manager's assistant (Aisling Loftus) to Chile to handle the ransom. She's soon joined by a mercenary (Jesse Johnson), but fate is not with these bumblers.

A subplot involving a germophobic American field agent (Mark Valley) is what one might call funny-adjacent. But any potential Valley might bring is negated by witless dialogue and a plot that has no idea where it's going or why — and certainly isn't capable of making us want to go with it.

 

Production company: Salty Film

Distributor: Saban Films

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Cura, Mark Valley, Aisling Loftus, Jesse Johnson

Director: Simon West

Screenwriters: Mark Haskell Smith, Toby Davies

Producers: Jib Polhemus, Harry Stourton, Simon West

Executive producers: Rene Besson, Cassian Elwes, Hannah Leader, Andrew Loveday, Gia Muresan, Sean O'Kelly, Alex Thoukydides, Jeremy Wall, Ahsan Zaman

Director of photography: Alan Caudillo

Production designer: Marichi Palacios

Costume designer: Elisa Hormazabal

Editor: Nick Morris

Composer: David M. Saunders

Casting director: Daniel Hubbard

 

R, 91 minutes

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